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Pet Parrot: Why they pluck their feathers


The fact that a pet parrot plucks its feathers is also known as pecking or plucking. It’s an abnormal behavior that shouldn’t be confused with molting times.

Parrots do not have a certain molting period established. However, this is described by the loss of feathers that DOESN’T leave areas of the skin bare. On the other hand, if we observe in the parrot body areas completely empty of feathers and or with lesions, then they are facing intentional plucking.

Pecking can be caused by different factors. Although the most common is psychological. It has a significant relapse rate and requires complex treatment.

Why a parrot plucks its feathers:

  • Stress: the parrot may be stressed by a lack of attention. Additionally, they may be stressed by insufficient hygiene in their cage or by being in a small cage. They get stressed too by lack of stimulation and boredom, and by the feeling of loneliness and abandonment. Also, even in sensitive parrots stress can be caused for conflicts at home.
  • Malnutrition: along with stress is another of the main causes. If the pet parrot feeds only on seeds, it suffers from dry skin. This leads to excessive cleaning that can trigger the habit of plucking.
  • Environmental factors: humidity, tobacco smoke, or kitchen smoke can upset the animal. This is also the cause of this behavior.
  • External parasites: mites and lice cause irritation to the skin of the animal. Your pet parrot plucks the feathers to try to relieve symptoms.
  • Dermatological infections: A localized bacterial or fungal infection can cause itching and inflammation. Because of this, your parrot responds by plucking its feathers. This is an attempt to calm the symptoms.
An African Gray Pet Parrot Plucking Her Breast Feathers
By BrianHPhoto

Other causes that a pet parrot plucks:

  • Hormone deficiency.
  • Sexual frustration at not being able to finish the courtship.
  • Skin changes: bruises, cysts, or broken feathers.
  • Bacterial diseases.


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